metawidget: Oscar in a bucket, smiling (oscar in bucket)
The rest of August went by quickly, but left some evidence behind. With the help of Oscar and the neighbour kid, I built some garden boxes out front. We still need some dirt and then to transplant a few things in, but the boxes look good.

I've been taking the older two out to bang in campaign signs for our local MP, who we'd like to keep. We've ring doorbells and knocked on doors, learned about politeness, chatted with friendly Hullians, been fed and watered, tried a stair elevator and talked nicely with dubious landlords — along with learning how to watch and march in political marches, I feel we're starting their civics lessons early. Oscar and Vivien also like hammering stuff and tightening zip ties, so it's interdisciplinary learning. In other learning activities, Oscar isn't totally reliable on spotting house numbers yet, but he's keen to try.

Elizabeth and I (and Ada) got out on a date to Les Promenades de Gatineau, where we ate food court food and acquired nice underthings at the newly-opened Simons. Shameless fun in getting things is okay sometimes, I hope :)

We had some fun park time with [livejournal.com profile] lady_phi and her family, swapped tomatoes and had tea and scones. She also brought some baby stuff for us to rifle through — yay, less-ratty cloth diapers!

Oscar had his last library story time — Dominique looked a little weepy wishing him well in kindergarten. Oscar has been going since before Vivien was born, so she's seen him grow up quite a bit. The fall is going to see a lot of me getting Viv alone to activities. I think she's ready to graduate to star attraction at kid activities!

Tomorrow Oscar hits Kindergarten — just an hour and with Elizabeth hanging out in the background, but whoa, our firstborn just made it to school! We're grappling with the fact of it, and the list of stuff, all labelled, and the un-Waldorfy discipline and pedagogy, and will he learn French and will he decide to play the game by getting along or with all his rogue skills… well, we made it and he made it and school and Oscar will happen to each other starting tomorrow at nine.
metawidget: Sticker saying "you are beautiful" on a black background. (beautiful)
Here are some pictures from March to recently… we made it through the chilly spring, had a baby, discovered Vivien’s career aspirations, and hit the Ormstown Fair.

Viv in a swing

Vivien at the park.

twenty-nine more… )
metawidget: Sticker saying "you are beautiful" on a black background. (beautiful)
Baby Ada's birth was the home birth we'd been planning for — kids safely at their grandparents, midwives we knew, intensity and joy and healthy everyone at the end. Elizabeth was very independent for most of labour, as she has been before — I fetched things, let midwives in, helped keep things clean and was just being present up into late pushing. We'd talked about my maybe catching Ada, but in the end I was busy holding Elizabeth and crying a bit as she pushed the last few times. I got to cut the cord, as I have for Oscar and Vivien. At home in our space was a nice place for a birth, and I felt quite involved.

Ada is pretty laid-back so far, and looking around a lot. She has a powerful suck, curious hands and neck and a variety of unconvinced facial expressions. She also sleeps really well in the baby carrier!

Elizabeth and I got a chance to give the baby carrier a whirl yesterday when our friend Seema generously offered to take the older two over to her place for a couple of hours. Thanks to her, we got to walk over to Brasseurs du Temps and have a little anniversary lunch date. Seven years of vaguely sacrilegious matrimony and crazy adventures! Our conversation was more sleep-deprived than deep, but it was really nice to make some time for our little dyad, and Ada helpfully snoozed almost the whole time. Also, BDT has really gotten comfortable in its skin and gotten into a refined and interesting beer groove. There was one unfortunate server comment about "ladies' beer" – La Grande Rivière is a tart, citrusy smacker of a beer that happens to be pink (and delicious to me and not Elizabeth's thing). Silly server. The presence of a tasty 2.4% session IPA (good for easing back into regular beer after 9 months on the pregnancy wagon) was exciting, though.
metawidget: Co-sleeping kid taking up as much space as possible between co-awake parents. (co-sleep)
Yesterday was Elizabeth's and my sixth wedding anniversary. Woo for crazy married adventures and making things up as we go along!

Vivien composed her first three-word sentence today: "Doggie likes juice!" She was dipping her toy dog in her juice at the time. Earlier this week, Oscar decided I was like a Christmas tree. Why? Because I go around and around. Like a Christmas tree. I'm not sure where that came from...

Also, there is an "I am still here" meme going around LJ. I'm still here!
metawidget: A platypus looking pensive. (Default)
It feels like the new year has shaken lots of things up for me, largely in
a good way. It's surprising -- the very end of last year felt quietly
dire, and the beginning of this one, despite Oscar having just fought off a
week's worth of gastro and the weather having had us gone to ground much of
the time, has felt good. I'm starting a new position, with some staff and
some of my favorite technical matter, in Justice statistics -- it's acting,
maybe six months to a year, and an exciting challenge. I already feel a
big difference in how I interact with my chief as well as the pace and
choppiness of my day -- I like the new interaction style and the
big-picture duties, but the task-switching pace will be a challenge.

In at-work-but-not-work news, there are a couple of good things. First, I
am on a tear at lunchtime Scrabble -- a couple of convincing wins have me
sitting higher in the standings than I ever have. Probably more meaningful
to my well-being is that I stopped waffling and signed back up for yoga.
My old instructor had retired, so a new class with a new instructor: it's
"hip opening yoga" according to the title, but it feels more or less like
the very first class I attended way back in 2005 at Concordia, but with
extra blocks and balls. The instructor, Janice, is a bit tougher and has a
drier sense of humour than either of my previous instructors, which on
balance I think I will appreciate.

The home life is feeling more connected -- maybe things just settled better
after an exhausting late 2013, maybe it's a slowly improving sleep
schedule, or both of us just developing good patterns, but I feel like
we're managing to carve out more and better couple time. I'm finding Oscar
easier to have fun with, too -- he chimes in when we're reading a familiar
book, he comes up with extensive justifications for me spinning him around
(although he calls it "sponging", hence "this is sponging music, papa!"),
and his playing-with-others skills are improving. I'm looking forward to
milder weather soon, because I think the bitter cold is cramping his style
-- him tearing around outside more will be good for us all.

Year Lists

Aug. 11th, 2013 03:52 pm
metawidget: A platypus looking pensive. (Default)
Well, I think I managed on average to floss about half of the days in year #33, and I've had a lighter touch with the filters online and in person. I think this was a four- or five- massage bar year and I got somewhat better at bringing back beer bottles. The mortgage breathed its last in May, and now our "make the house warmer and the kitchen fit us better" fund is growing fast and I'll be closing in on my RRSP deduction limit. We have a six-foot wooden fence with a gate that Oscar keeps figuring out as we secure it better (now he just wriggles under it), but at least he's down to one choke-point, and we did try! On the stuff I didn't do so well in from last year's list, I didn't get that check-up (no family doctor and not quite enough drive to get it done at a walk-in clinic), and I don't know that I made any big strides in relationship communication — appreciation, I think, and adventures, for sure, and some fine-tuning in timing and medium, but it's something I can still try to work on.

In the no-deadline parts of the list, we increased doctor coverage from zero of us to Vivien, and maybe Oscar in the fall. I started a new position, for which I'm learning a bunch of stuff and alternating between feeling competent and feeling like I just opened an overstuffed closet and the top shelf fell on me. My aches and pains had a good go at me in the spring, but I think I'm done with sciatica for a while and feeling generally as good as I was at last list time. In improving the house, we got a dishwasher, which might count, and I fixed the back stairs last week — their surprise collapse would've been hard on the comfort of whoever was on them at the time. The kids are gaining competence at a frightening pace and Oscar declared he wanted hugs and fire for his birthday party, so we're doing something right even as I feel I could use more patience and humour sometimes.

Here's what I would like to achieve in the next year:
  • Keep up the flossing.
  • Communicate better in relationships.
  • Continue to wear through massage bars.
  • Make the house cheaper to heat, either with insulation or a heating system upgrade, or both.
  • Getting a GP and a checkup/vaccination update might be a tall order, but I will attempt to start allergy shots so I'm popping fewer antihistamines next summer. If I can do allergies and deferred maintenance, all the better.
  • Somehow fix the Wike's stroller mode. As it is, the walking wheel doesn't hold up under our frequent use — three bolts to one frame member is no match for the leverage exerted by bumps and curbs.
  • Give the promotion process this fall my best shot, and accept whatever comes of it gracefully.
  • Reach out to a few more people at work in the hope of developing a new friendship or two.


Here are some longer-term things:
  • Round out home heating improvements and make the kitchen suit us better.
  • Raise competent, well-adjusted kids. Do so with good humour, love and trust in them.
  • Take care of my body and try and make my list of aches and pains not increase monotonically.
  • Get family doctors for all of us in the household.
  • Continue to like my job, be good at it, and be worthy of the respect of my co-workers.
  • Keep learning new things, and consolidate dabbling into competent in new areas from time to time.


I hope I'll do at least as well between now and next birthday as I did in the last year or so.
metawidget: Person sitting cross-legged from the rear, in black and white with noise and scratches (body)
It has been forever since I did a good/blah entry. Life is pretty good, really. Way back when, I did these every 20 entries, so that there would always be one on the first page of my entries. Maybe I'll get back up to that pace again.


GoodBlah
  • We're within a payment of being done with the mortgage — we lucked out on interest rates and help and nice stable professional employment, and now we're looking at owning our place outright. It feels good.
  • Everyone here (human and cat) is currently pretty healthy (even my leg is feeling progressively better)!
  • Both kids are learning fun and exciting new skills.
  • I feel like I'm doing pretty well on my year list, including the long-term stuff.
  • Taxes are more or less done, and look to be in good shape: a refund but not a gigantic one.
  • I took my wedding band to the ring shop, and now it fits (my fingers have gotten more slender since 2008) and it got a complimentary shine as well.
  • I'm happily married to one awesome and beautiful person, and happily dating another.
  • Less than two months of parental leave left. Work will be kind of exciting, but the transition back could be rough.
  • World Vision keeps sending increasingly over-the-top fundraising pules. We got a great big envelope containing an bubble envelope containing a spoon and a measuring tape that they would like us to mail back to them (with a donation) for them to ship to Africa. I gave to World Vision in honour of my Christian relatives who are fans of them. Next in-honour donation will be to MSF or the Canadian Red Cross — close enough in the useful stuff they do, and at least their fundraising stuff is flat.
  • Feeling a bit sciatic-y, a little creaky in the knees and occasionally elsewhere, I think due to moving over winter footing with kids and groceries and stuff. I hope it clears up with better conditions.
  • There are always cool things I'd like to do, and don't make time for. Getting one or both kids to sleep and/or securing babysitting makes this one a little harder.
metawidget: Sticker saying "you are beautiful" on a black background. (beautiful)
Six months ago today, Vivien was born. Now she has two teeth, is starting to be mobile, and is sticking lots of things in her mouth (but not eating complementary foods just yet).

then )
now )

Six years ago today, I proposed, in a horse shelter at my parents' place, to Elizabeth. She said yes.

Also, happy birthday to my cousin Erica, [personal profile] beable and to [livejournal.com profile] thebabynancy!

2012

Dec. 30th, 2012 05:50 pm
metawidget: My full geek code.  Too long for DW alt tag, please see profile if interested. (geek)
Here's the semi-standardized questionnaire applied to 2012 — it was a pretty intense year in some ways.

What did you do in 2012 that you'd never done before?
Filed a police report, juggled two kids out solo.

lots more )




Did I miss any useful questions? I dropped a couple of irrelevant ones, and will be watching the memesphere for stuff to add.

Year List

Oct. 26th, 2012 03:55 pm
metawidget: Person sitting cross-legged from the rear, in black and white with noise and scratches (body)

I've been carrying around a list in my head of things to do while I'm 32 years old; now I'm committing it to the Internet. I've seen bucket lists and life lists, but the time horizon doesn't speak to my procrastination-prone and tactical nature, and I of course see New Year's resolutions, but I think going by my years rather than calendar years is more personal, and protects me a little from the list elements being fresh when the invariable collapse of many resolutions happens in late January. Also, some elements of the list were really dear and salient to me in the summer, so it made sense to hang them on my birthday (even if it's taken months to post them here). So, here are the things I would like to do or improve significantly this year:

  • Floss more days than not.
  • Make a conscious and courageous-when-necessary effort to improve my relationships in ways that make me happy.
  • Make deeper use of this journal, as part of trying to be less guarded with people that I trust.
  • Wear through multiple massage bars.
  • Get the deposit back on beer bottles at smaller intervals and more reliably.
  • Wipe out the mortgage and direct the resulting savings to a mix of responsible and fun things.
  • Replace the chain-link fence with a durable, attractive, Oscar-resistant one.
  • Get a check-up this year and renew my vaccinations; it's been too long on both counts.

In general, I think I have more guiding values than long-term specific goals, but here are some things (somewhere between values and goals) on a longer time scale.

  • Have fewer secrets.
  • Be entrusted with more secrets.
  • Raise competent, well-adjusted kids. Do so with good humour, love and trust in them.
  • Make our house more comfortable, energy-efficient and adjusted to us.
  • Take care of my body and try and make my list of aches and pains not increase monotonically.
  • Get family doctors for all of us in the household.
  • Continue to like my job, be good at it, and be worthy of the respect of my co-workers.
  • Keep learning new things, and consolidate dabbling into competent in new areas from time to time.
metawidget: Oscar in a diaper, crouching as if to fit into the frame and looking quizzical (oscar)

This post is in reverse-to-random chronological order.

First, some promised Oscar pictures:

Oscar crawling out of the frame in our backyard

This one is gracing my desktop at work.

Oscar holding himself up on a bead toy

Here's a recent indoor one. He needs only a little hand contact with something sort of stable to stay upright.


Date night!

Last night, [personal profile] fairestcat came by, loaded us and Oscar up in her car, drove us all to Zen Kitchen, let us out, and kept going. She, [personal profile] random and the other people at fannish night took care of him for the night while Elizabeth and I got to have a fantastic meal and some time to ourselves without checking baby position constantly or worrying he'd wake up. Toward midnight, we were starting to miss Oscar (or at least wanting to put him to bed and call it a night), but it was definitely refreshing. We should definitely do that sooner than the eight months it took us to get around to that.

Raven’s Knoll work

Raven's Knoll, the campground that hosts Kaleidoscope Gathering among other pagan and pagan-ish happenings, is kept running in part on volunteer labour. The three of us went up with [personal profile] random on the weekend. Moving and stacking wood and brush was the main activity for [personal profile] random and me, and Elizabeth took care of Oscar and helped out in the kitchen. Working out there was fun both for the satisfaction of working (and stacking wood with proper ends on the stack — thanks, Dad, for teaching me that!) and for the universally pleasant company of the other workers. I was quite happy to get a better sense of Brendan, who led things and is there full-time keeping the place running.

Mum Update

Thursday and Friday, we headed up to my parents' place to see my mum and give my parents an Oscar fix. Mum's looking great and despite being a little out of breath occasionally, had lots of energy. Oscar also got to meet Jeannie the cleaning lady, who I think has been looking forward to meeting Oscar for about eight months now :)

Back to work

I went back to work on Monday. It was a little surprising how quickly work felt sort of normal to me; I guess it hasn't been that long. Most of Monday was spent getting things re-activated and catching up on what I was supposed to start work on, and yesterday and today were pretty meeting-heavy, but there looks to be imminent actual work, and a variety of it, with clients that I either know I like or get a good vibe from. I feel like it'll take a couple of weeks to say hi to all the people that make up the complete work experience, and thus be completely back, but I'm feeling good about the transition so far.

Pixel Update

Pixel had her stitches out yesterday, and looks much less scary and a bit happier today. I think she lost some weight when she was stressed and not eating in the cone, but not a scary amount as the vet weighed her and didn't worry. She's got a vaccine booster appointment in a month, if she's still skinny then we'll see what else needs doing. She was a little grimy looking after the cone for a while, but she's groomed herself back to her usual elegant coat.

metawidget: A traffic cone and a blue chair sitting in the parking lane of a city street. (art or moving)

There were a few once-a-decade snapshots of living situations out there in blogland lately. In Canada, we have a census twice as often. Here are a few details of what my living situation was around each Census time that I've been alive (including a projection for this year — early May is coming fast!)

1981:
Living in an upstairs flat with my parents in Notre Dame de Grâce, a neighbourhood west of downtown Montreal that almost every English speaker just shortens to NDG (and NDG had a lot of English speakers at the time). Chewing on doors and, at least at census time, the only kid in the house.

Counting myself in… )
metawidget: A platypus looking pensive. (Default)
1. What did you do in 2010 that you'd never done before?
Fathered a child (well, I guess some salient bits were done in 2009), grew peas, built a hardwood floor, drafted a will, published a statistics paper, took a train in business class, drove a pickup truck.
thirty-seven more )
metawidget: A platypus looking pensive. (Default)
I'm enjoying work lately, working on one of those projects that's fairly fast-paced and has lots of finnciky, almost craftsmanlike aspects to it. The people are really nice, too.

Today, Elizabeth and I went to the Great Glebe Garage Sale with a couple of our friends from up here and their 3-month old baby. Babies make almost everyone around you happy, and hanging out with recently-parentfied friends is a little hard to arrange but so nice.

I made off with a stack of books and CDs, as well as a shirt and a grater (one of those nice four-sided ones with different surfaces on each side), for around $20. The baked goods tables scattered around the neighbourhood were tasty, too. It was a little disconcerting to see so many people attempting to navigate the sale by car — but the other 90% seemed to be on foot!

Next weekend is Elizabeth's and my first anniversary. It's been an eventful and generally happy year. We'll probably go up to Wakefield to celebrate, and eat at someplace we enjoyed last year as newlyweds...
metawidget: A platypus looking pensive. (Default)
On Saturday, Elizabeth and I got married out in Ormstown, and celebrated with a bunch of family and friends.

Elizabeth has already posted some of her thoughts here, I'll add a few things for now, starting with pictures.
photos )
The ceremony was intimate and intense: Elizabeth and I both were on the verge of tears while we made our vows. We'd both known Ellie Hummel before we asked her to officiate, and it showed in how she did things. We'd planned on getting married outside under the apple tree, but it was threatening to rain, so we packed everyone into the basement of André's farmhouse, which felt like a tiny church, crypt or castle, with stone walls and metal and painted decorations. It was pretty hot, and very crowded, but it felt right. We did burst out to the yard with the tree for a toast and pictures afterward.

Later on, Owen had picked out a poem involving love and Scrabble for us at the cake-cutting, which was quite appropriate. I'll try and get the author and title. The folks at StatCan Scrabble Club will be impressed.

The day as a whole went really, really fast, and sort of unfolded before us due to all the help and merriness from everyone.
metawidget: A platypus looking pensive. (Default)
In a little over a week, I will be off with [livejournal.com profile] rottenfruit to Halifax, being a general-purpose roadie, merch salesman, companion and driver on the Nova Scotia bit of the Eastern Tour (I'll probably be at the Cagibi show in Montreal, too). I'm still a bit worried that the rental agency will look at the vintage of my license and tell me "no car for you," but I've got the age, usually calm demeanour and untarnished-if-short driving record going for me.

Wedding planning is going well: I think we have most of the details at least sketched out, even if we still have to set one of the readings, post banns, and attend to many details. We finished a marriage prep course last week. It was fun at times and kind of intense at others. Our instructor seemed pretty positive about us, and we're still positive about us too! Coming home from one of our sessions, we took the bus in the wrong direction and the driver was new and got a little lost. Neither of us, nor the only other passenger, had any idea where to go. After a plea for help, the driver just stopped at a corner for a while and collected his thoughts — we got to South Keys eventually. We were hungry enough to decide to eat at Denny's in the parking lot, served beer, lumberjack breakfast and a veggie burger and beer by a chipper doctoral student before heading home.

At work, things are going well... last month I participated in the employee choir singing a Beatles medley, and I'm feeling pretty happy with my co-workers and my work. My unit is going to lose its supervisor (he got promoted), and I haven't found out who will replace him, but we've still got some time before he disappears (he clears out completely for July 1st). In any case, I'm getting to teach, write, tinker and snuffle through the library, and they're paying me for it. This week I'll be taking a couple of days for the public-service-wide orientation course (how we relate to the government, accountability, etc.) — it'll start early, but they're feeding us breakfast. I'm not sure how much will be new to me, but it'll be a different perspective from my rather specialized day-to-day context.
metawidget: A platypus looking pensive. (Default)
1. What did you do in 2007 that you'd never done before?
... )
39. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year:
"Get onto the bus!"
metawidget: A platypus looking pensive. (Default)
(years in review in general)

1. What did you do in 2006 that you'd never done before?
Participated in an impeachment vote. Tripped a Hep C alarm. Moved in with a significant other.

Year in 38 more questions. )
metawidget: A platypus looking pensive. (Default)
Christmas was good, lots of family and food and time spent running around and getting ready with [livejournal.com profile] rottenfruit. Our parents met. I had my first encounter with the nut loaf, which was excellent. We saw frozen rippled sand, like a photograph of water you can walk around (which made up for the lack of snow until yesterday). Gave and got some nice things. Came home to Verdun this evening, which was also good. It feels like home.

It's been great doing the holidays together.
metawidget: A plastic wind-up teeth thing with a googly eye. (chatter)
Before it's too late, happy International Dadaism Month.

Next day of the month is on Friday.

zimzim urallala zimzim urallala zimzim zanzibar zimzalla zam.

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